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June 01, 2007

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so, Chief White House Dream Interpreter ( I mean that in a good way...) what do you think it means?

More distancing from Rover?

Well, honestly, this one MIGHT be time with the family. And fatigue with the games?

Agh! The USS GW Bush, last of the old dreadnoughts, has bumped into a minnow, its rotted hull has ruptured and it is going down fast by the stern. The rats are heading to the lifeboats! The guppies are circling ready to tear apart the rats. Go Guppies Go!!

Do guys like this move back home - to Austin - or do they stay in DC? Just curious. We don't want the likes of him back. Keep him up there.

Oh no Gnome! You need to take him back. He has the right of return you know. Now what you do with him is up to you. The rest of the nation has had enough of Mr. Bartlett thank you very much! Oh, could you please take Karl, George, and Laura too? Appreciated, thanks!

is there an indictment in his near future? if not, how did he avoid it? by not having a position of power?

He'll return to Austin and join hands with the carpetbaggers and parvenues who are plundering our town and the Hill Country.

...and also, Margaret Spellings, so called education Secretary...
can you take her too?

EW, I try to keep up, but I've clearly missed something, what's the 1x2x6 refer to?

While this post is still fresh, I just have to ask -- what does 'EPU' mean?

Phred - too many FDL'rs here. Regulars from FireDogLake. EPU is an acronym for being bumped from the last conversation. We had a poster named Evil Parallel Universe - EPU - who took so long with his very thoughtful comments that the talk would have moved on to the next post by time he got his comment up.

Oops. Sorry, I should have said sojourner - I keep reading the name in the wrong spot.


july 4th?

man, that cowboy is gettin' out of dodge in one hell of a big hurry.

something's up.

OK, now I can say Phred, 1x2x6 was part of Marcy's theory on how the outing of Valerie Plame was accomplished. One person told two, each of those two told three more, etc.

Thanks! I just never understood what it meant...

Some serious house-cleaning going on in Rove's shop. Griffin is also gone from AR today. I wonder who's next? Would Bush finally get rid of Rove? Could it happen? Would that be a precursor to his NOT pardoning Scooter, at least not just yet?

A little more clarification on 1X2X6. It's not my theory. It was reported to be the investigators' theories.

In any case, someone (1) told the WaPo that two people (2--I think they're Libby and Rove but Swopa thinks they're Ari and I'm not sure) leaked Plame's identity to 6 journalists. If Bartlett really were 1 (he had the knowledge and he was quoted by Adam Levine as thinking going after Plame was stupid), it would have been one time when he thought the BUsh Administration was wrong wrong wrong.

Only interesting, really, in teh context of the sentencing hearing on Tuesday.

Wasn't it Bartlett that (according to AriF's testimony) sort of indirectly pressured Ari, in the WH staff dining room, to leak Plame to reporters?

I think Bartlett is just another rat trying to get off this ship before it sinks. When you know that she's going down, you should try to get as far away as possible, becuase if you're too close when it finally happens you could get sucked down to the bottom along with the wreckage. On the odd chance that congressional Dems finally sack up and start impeachment hearings, anyone who is still a part of the Bush team will be permanantly tainted by their association. Perhaps Bartlett (and certainly his wife) think that by sneaking out now, they can live to undermine the Constitution yet again in the future.

Too bad for Dan that the internet never forgets.

I just had a very nasty thought though- what if this exodus is part of the cover-up? Say you were Karl Rove, and say you wanted to hide all of the electronic evidence of your prior wrongdoing. And say you knew that your employees had copies of all of those emails on their computers. You're not worried about them volunteering the evidence, because you know that they'd shoot their own grandmothers in the face to protect you- obstruction of justice is just part of the day's work. But you are worried that eventually the Supreme Court might decide to enforce a subpoena, revealing your treason, and then the game is up for everyone.

So how do you destroy all of that evidence? Simple: you allow those employees to resign, and then you erase their hard drives as a part of White House security policy. No more Dan Bartlett, no more Dan Bartlett's computer. No more computer, no more incriminating evidence. Lather, rinse, repeat until all the RNCHQ.org and gwb43.com emails are gone.

Conyers should seize technology assets from every Rove monkey who leaves the White House. He doesn't have to read it, he just needs to make sure that Karl can't erase it.

kim

You're actually combining two stories.

Bartlett was on AF1 reading the INR memo and noted, out loud, that Valerie had "sent" Joe. Team Libby was trying to use this to suggest that Bartlett, Ari's boss, had made him leak Plame's identity to Pincus et al.

But then Addington and Bartlett had a conversation in Fall 2003. Scottie had just exonerated Libby (after originally exonerating just Rove), and Addington told him he shouldn't have made public statements about the case like that. But then Bartlett said "your boss" (Cheney) is the one who made them do it.

... someone (1) told the WaPo that two people (2--I think they're Libby and Rove but Swopa thinks they're Ari and I'm not sure) leaked Plame's identity to 6 journalists...

Finally, we've found a detail EW doesn't have catalogued! :)

Swopa's 1x2x6 theory has long been that the WaPo's source heard Ari Fleischer and Dan Bartlett calling 6 or more reporters from Air Force One on July 12, 2003 (and leaking about Plame during those conversations).

Fleischer acknowledged during Libby's trial that he and Bartlett in fact did call multiple journalists from Air Force One on July 12th (something that had never been reported, except in my theorizing), and Walter Pincus testified that Ari told him about Plame during the call he received.

Fleischer wasn't asked about what he said to any other reporters (he claimed he didn't leak to Pincus, which is obviously wrong), and Bartlett wasn't questioned. But based on the circumstantial evidence, it seems pretty clear that I was right.

Could the timing of Bartlett's departure
have to do with an ex-government official's waiting period to become a lobbyist?

Bartlett is a campaigner first and foremost -- a spinmeister. He has precious little to spin anymore for a White House that's lost Peggy Noonan. Wouldn't be surprised to see him join a GOP campaign (Big Fred?) after July 4th.

Is this self-preservation for Bartlett or a hard shove from the King and his minions for reasons we can only guess?

GdP, EW, and Swopa -- thanks much for all the clarifications! I really appreciate it...

Swopa, I'm puzzled though, if the 2 were Ari and Dan, then where do Libby and Rove fit in? They both leaked to reporters, too. So does 1x2x6 refer to one set of leaks (from Air Force One), while another equation must describe Libby and Rove's contributions to the cause... Seems to me 1x2x6 fails to capture the larger picture. Is this the conclusion the investigators came to eventually -- that it went well beyond 1x2x6?

"Leaving government" seems to have no bearing on whether Mr. Bartlett continues to work with Mr. Rove, any more than Karen Hughes' leaving the WH meant she was not continuing to give advice to Mr. Bush. It would seem that anyone with access to an RNC e-mail account could stay in the loop ad infinitum.

My surmise is that Mr. Bartlett will set up the roots of a consulting business that he and Mr. Rove may jointly pursue later, assuming both stay out of jail.

The timing suggests the possibility that it has something to do with Walton's decision on releasing the letters.

Do you think the Cabal somehow failed to see it coming that the letters could possibly be released?

First, Swopa, your theory has changed over time, so I wouldn't deem to lay it out like that. Thanks for doing so, though.

But, you may have missed one bit of your argument. Evidence. First, you have no plausible 1, particularly since Powell did not apparently turn out to have been 1, at least not that Team Libby thought of it. And second, the equally strong evidence that Bartlett appears to have been opposed to the Plame leak. He may well have been 1 and 2 (though I doubt it). But given that we appear to get to 6 pretty easily without Fleischer or Bartlett, you don't have the evidence to claim that you are right. The issue is very much still unclear. You may be right, but I have yet to see any evidence supporting it, and your entire theory at its base (that no one would have talked about the leak and therefore 1 must have been in the same room as 2) was disproved by bucketloads of evidence introduced at the trial.

And to those above--no, this can't have anything to do with the letters. They'll be released well before July 4, when Bartlett leaves.

War with Iran on July 4th?

He said he wasn't going to work on a campaign, otherwise Fred Thompson would be a good guess.

Put this together with the two recent reports of Bush's rants to "friends" from Texas. Maybe he sees that Bush really is going round the bend, and he wants out before something really hits the fan.

In the midst of reverie, suddenly I remembered that Bartlett was the loyal StormTrooper that cleaned all the youthful detritus out of Lt. GW Bush's Texas Air National Guard records....Might he have kept those expunged records for his own personal gratification, i.e., insurance policy? A mighty powerful wet dream....

Mimikatz

As always, interesting observation. I've been thinking of the come to jesus talk by the big TX money for a while. Didn't think of Bartlett in those terms, but, yeah, it's a possibility.

When I saw Bartlett interviewed on TV for the PBS series, I was astonished by how much older he looks than me even though he's actually a few years younger. Whatever his master and whatever the job he does, it carries obvious physical stresses.

What? No book or memoir, and even a pledge not to write one? And no sinecure lined up? You've got to wonder what's going on.... Tekel has a point. Bush's personnel exit strategy may well be his scandal-containment strategy. I think it likely to be the case, in fact.

'Karl Rove, meanwhile, has lost Sara Taylor and Dan Bartlett in remarkably short succession.'


and Griffin resigns too.

Hard to believe its unconnected (though I guess it could be).


Bartlett is young: he's 36, and has been part of the Bush Family for thirteen years. And since Bush is limping to the finish line, that sort of resume doesn't necessarily provide the bennys it once did. Plus, y'know, scandal.

If Scott Jennings takes the walk, then things get very interesting indeed. I'd be especially inclined to follow tekel's suspicion -- that they're using it to scrub the hard drives.

Though the tinfoil makes me wonder whether no-one wants to be around for Operation Iran.

I love how Bartlett says he won't "seek a political career in Texas." I suppose he means just that he won't run for office, but c'mon, political work is the only thing he's ever done, he's not (to my knowledge) a lawyer, so unless some corporate board wants him, some kind of political consultancy is the only plausible option for him. Maybe his wife works and he can stay home with the kids.

Any connection between Libby verdict / letters and this resignation?

He is not going back to Austin.
Reuters says:

Bartlett said he was leaving for no other reason than to get a job in the private sector and concentrate more on his family. He has retained Washington lawyer Robert Barnett to help him in his search.

Barnett is the ultimate DC insider. Bartlett would end up as a lobbyist, or PR guy for a pharma, insurance, or oil company and he will be based in DC. Bush still has 20 months left and Bartlett can make millions for his employer in that time.


Swopa, I'm puzzled though, if the 2 were Ari and Dan, then where do Libby and Rove fit in?

I think this is where all other 1x2x6 theories go astray. They assume it must explain Libby & Rove's leaking, hence concluding that Libby/Rove are the "2" because, well, who else could it be? Which forces "1" into being some kind of omniscient narrator who knew in September 2003 about conversations that it took the FBI/Fitz investigations months or even years to uncover. I've never heard a hypothesis that even remotely held water in explaining how the WaPo's source would have this information.

I've taken a narrower view -- the WaPo's source learned that an investigation was starting, and went to the DoJ and WaPo to say, "Here's some leaking that I know about." It's not the source's fault if he/she only knew part of the overall picture.

Swopa

Two questions. Do we know 1 went to DOJ? Willingly?

Second, you dodge the point that--according to Adam Levine--both he and Bartlett were omniscient narrators in time to be 1. Apparently, Levine had that omniscience because he was fielding calls and had been told to direct any and all calls on Joe Wilson to Libby and Rove. Apparently Bartlett had it because he knew of a specific decision to use Valerie as a talking point, presumably in the course of public affairs strategy discussions. While I agree that doesn't mean Rove and Libby have to be 2, it completely makes your point about 1 irrelevant. There have been clear reports of how two people, one fairly junior, had that omniscience. I've never seen you refute the credibility of Levine on this point (indeed, he is reputed to be a fairly good source for this kind of thing); though I could imagine arguing that he blamed Bartlett to shift blame himself (which means the most likely reason why he wouldn't be credible would rest on him being 1 and LIbby and Rove being 2). So to sustain your point about the difficulty for 1 to be omniscient, you seem to be simply ignoring evidence that exists in the public record.

Are you suggesting that, when NOvak called, Levine didn't direct him to Libby?

Swopa, your theory has changed over time, so I wouldn't deem to lay it out like that.

Say what? It's exactly how I laid it out when we made a dinner bet on the subject in January, and you seem to grasp it just fine back then. ;)

First, you have no plausible 1, particularly since Powell did not apparently turn out to have been 1, at least not that Team Libby thought of it.

Why is Libby's legal strategy the determining factor of who "1" is? It's just a road they chose not to go down (their discussion of 1x2x6 in the trial seemed primarily designed to get Fitz to tip his hand on what he knew).

And second, the equally strong evidence that Bartlett appears to have been opposed to the Plame leak.

No, there is evidence that Bartlett wanted Isikoff/Corn to think he was opposed to the Plame leak -- quite possibly to throw them off the trail of 1x2x6, just as Libby falsely confessed to leaking to Glenn Kessler. Fleischer testified that Bartlett was livid about Plame's apparent role in Wilson's trip, and it was part of why Ari thought it was OK to leak the info.

But given that we appear to get to 6 pretty easily without Fleischer or Bartlett, you don't have the evidence to claim that you are right.

We do? If Libby/Rove are your "2," who did they leak to besides Miller, Novak, and Cooper?

. . . your entire theory at its base (that no one would have talked about the leak and therefore 1 must have been in the same room as 2) was disproved by bucketloads of evidence introduced at the trial.

Two problems here. First, as I've consistently stated since October 2003, my assumption that "1" was in the same room as the "2" is based on "1" describing not only the fact of the calls to the WaPo, but the tone of the calls.

So I don't know where you get this "no one would have talked about the leak" being part of my theory -- but now that you've brought it up, I guess I need to know what some of these "bucketloads of evidence" are. Who, besides Libby, did Rove tell about his conversation with Novak and/or Cooper? We know he actively hid the Cooper conversation from Steve Hadley. Similarly, Libby kept Cathie Martin out of the loop about Cooper. Who, besides Cheney and Rove, did Libby talk to about his leaks?

He's 36. The recruitment ceiling is 42. Since he's a supporter of the Iraq War, surely he's going to volunteer to fight in Iraq.

Two questions. Do we know 1 went to DOJ? Willingly?

That's an assumption on my part (and has been since October '03). It would be perverse to think that a would-be whistleblower would react to an investigation by going to the press and then hiding from the investigation itself. As I've written before, the likely motivation for going to the WaPo was to encourage other witnesses not to cover up the truth.

Second, you dodge the point that--according to Adam Levine--both he and Bartlett were omniscient narrators in time to be 1. Apparently, Levine had that omniscience because he was fielding calls and had been told to direct any and all calls on Joe Wilson to Libby and Rove. Apparently Bartlett had it because he knew of a specific decision to use Valerie as a talking point, presumably in the course of public affairs strategy discussions.

I don't have Hubris with me, but IIRC, both of them were talking about conversations after the Novak article was printed, on the grounds that the 1x2x6 article botched the timing (a notion I've debunked here).

I've never seen you refute the credibility of Levine on this point (indeed, he is reputed to be a fairly good source for this kind of thing)...

IIRC (again), Levine's explanation was that (like Armitage with Novak), he was Mike Allen's source without realizing it. This flies in the face of this passage from the 1x2x6 article:

It is rare for one Bush administration official to turn on another. Asked about the motive for describing the leaks, the senior official said the leaks were "wrong and a huge miscalculation, because they were irrelevant and did nothing to diminish Wilson's credibility."
In other words, Mike Allen and/or Dana Priest were so gobsmacked at what they were hearing they asked, "Why are you telling us this?" There was nothing accidental or misinterpreted about it.

Not only that, the source was brought back for a confirming interview in a separate article two weeks later (which Hubris completely ignored, although Scooter Libby didn't, since the FBI found a marked-up copy of it in his files). So Levine's oops-I-guess-it-was-me faux confession doesn't square with what the WaPo actually reported.


Might Barlett be tied up with Griffin on the caging lists and emails that Palast turned over to Conyers last night???

Swopa

First, please show me anything that requires direct observation?

The desire for revenge? That was evidenced at the July 8 staff meeting, attended by all Bush's top aides. I just don't see any piece of the 2 stories that requires 1 to be in the same room as the 2 for the leak. Particularly given that 1's language directly matches Bartlett's language, (who may or may not have seen a leak), I don't see that direct observation is required in the least.

That 1 described them as "wrong and a miscalculation"? that's not a motive. You're talking Allen's language, listing motive, and presuming from it that 1 directly witnessed 2's motive, even though nothing in "wrong and a miscalculation" says anything about presence. On the contrary, it sounds more like the kind of thing you'd get in a Comm Strategy session.

As to the people Libby told, Hadley and other were in a July 10 coversation where they were talking about leaking something, and Condi said Bush was okay with the leak. We don't know what that leak was.

And Bartlett, when he came home from Africa and talked to Levine about "redirecting coverage away from Wilson and his wife" because he thought it was "unproductive and demeaning," (very similar to the phrasing of 1 in the WaPo). Now, it is possible he said that just to direct attention away from himself on the leak, to set up Levine as a character witness, but that suggests he and Levine knew about a campaign against Plame at that point. It also suggests (though this is not clear) that the campaign started in Africa.

As to whether Rove was hesitant to tell Hadley, let me just point out this. We've got several possibilities:

1) Rove's email was misdirection, to cover his call with Cooper, who was probably the riskiest leak recipient
2) Bartlett's conversation with Levine was misdirection, to cover his own leaks
3) Libby's depictions about the discussion of leaks on July 10 was misdirection
4) Levine's portrayal of his involvement was misdirection

You have decided that 2, and only 2, is the example of misdirection here. I'm not saying that's not possible, but you've got no evidence for it. Why are you so sure that's true? Why do you consider Bartlett a more accomplished liar than Rove? Why are you so sure Rove's email was truthful, when Matt Cooper says it wasn't?

As for Rove and Libby's 6, I'd say Miller, Novak, and Cooper are definites (with the benefit that we know both Novak and Cooper talked to both, and we know Judy had at least another source), and Mitchell, is another very likely (which would explain why Team Libby didn't want her notes). Fitz asked about several other journalists in the GJ, one of them Isikoff. And there's Tweety. I do think 1 was mistaken about Tweety, FWIW, which would mean Isikoff is still wrong (for suggesting all the leaks were post-Novak), but that 1 overstated his claim 3 months after the fact. Given that you're willing to credit 1 with confusion elsehwere, this is not out of the question. So compare that list to Ari's known two leak recipients, and Bartlett's zero known leak recipients. I'd say there is more evidence supporting Libby and Rove as 2. It is not definitive. But it is much stronger than the case you claim to have proven.

Btw, as to Levine, I wasn't talking about the later conversation. I was talking about where he said, when Novak called, that Rove and Libby were the ones working on responding to Wilson. If, on July 8, he had a perception that Rove and Libby were in charge, and then within a week knew of a campaign against Plame, it is possible that the Plame thing wasn't all that secret. And the reason I asked about DOJ (it was a real question--and I'd remind that Levine quit in December 2003) was because it's possible that Levine did testify to being 1, but that he didn't want to admit to it to Hubris.

And finally, as to Powell. I'm just pointing that out bc you were convinced (counter to the evidence in the court filings that explained precisely why they wanted to call them) that Team Libby wanted to call Powell because he was 1. You're the one who made the suggestion they needed to call 1, not me.

Again, I'm not saying you're wrong. It's just you dismiss some fairly tangible evidence and as far as I can tell, the only piece of "evidence" you're relying on here is the insistence that 1 had to be a direct witness to 2--and I just don't see that. I think it's a misinterpretation of all of 1's statements.

One final point. If 1 did testify fully and was correct, then you would have expected either IIPA charges or other journalists to be interviewed. How could Fitz dismiss 5 unidentified and 1 unidentified leaker if he knew the journalists and knew who had called those journalists. Unless Bartlett also got immunity, then it's unclear why Fitz wouldn't have gone after Bartlett, not least because he would have had an eye witness. Furthermore, Fitz said he had no idea what he was going to get from Ari, so it is unlikely that 1 told him Ari was 2 and Pincus and Gregory were part of 6, otherwise, he wouldn't have given him immunity and wouldn't have needed to.

EW and Swopa - You two are both way above my pay grade on the details of this issue. I will offer this up to you for any value it may have. Fitz said he did not get a proffer from Fleischer and may have said something to the effect of "we didn't know what we were going to get from him". Believe me, this still leaves a lot of room you may not see. Now I may be wrong, but it is just not credible to think that Fitz gave immunity, or that any prosecutor would, without some inclination what he would receive in return. There are a lot of ways to finesse this. You can talk in hypotheticals. You can have the lawyer be the only one conveying information. You can drop a computer disk and leave it. I have personally gone so far as to simply go to the bathroom while leaving typewritten notes on top of my briecase on the table in the conference room. If all of this sounds stupid, well I guess it kind of is. But the bottom line is I have NEVER seen an immunity grant of the type given Fleischer blithely handed out with nothing known in return, and I guarantee you it didn't happen here. Fitz may not have gotten what he really wanted out of all of it, and that may be because he didn't know the full parameters ahead of time, but he didn't walk into the immunity deal totally blind. Just can't be.

ecoast:

Bingo -- you are 100% right. This is about Bartlett playing his WH connection to make some serious $$$$ between now and January 20, 2009. He has no real connections in DC other than Bush, and his value as a lobbyist will accordingly go down dramatically once Bush leaves office. Bartlett's time to strike gold is now.

... it is just not credible to think that Fitz gave immunity, or that any prosecutor would, without some inclination what he would receive in return.

If my interpretation of 1x2x6 is correct, he had a witness testifying that Fleischer told multiple reporters about Plame, so Fitz could reasonably expect to learn where Fleischer got the information and who (if anyone) told him to leak it.

EW, you raise a lot of tangents that I won't be able to address until later tonight, but for now let me knock down two errors in your comment.

Why are you so sure Rove's email was truthful, when Matt Cooper says it wasn't?

I said it wasn't truthful ("He actively hid the Cooper conversation from Steve Hadley"), so I'm not sure where you're coming from here.


... as to Powell. I'm just pointing that out bc you were convinced (counter to the evidence in the court filings that explained precisely why they wanted to call them) that Team Libby wanted to call Powell because he was 1. You're the one who made the suggestion they needed to call 1, not me.

If you step back and look at this, hopefully you'll see the glaring logical fallacy. If you muse out loud about calling Domino's, I might justifiably speculate that you're interested in having pizza for dinner. Your reasoning above is that not calling Domino's is proof that Domino's doesn't serve pizza.

Even assuming what you say is true, I still don't believe he gave Fleischer the immunity grant without some feedback as to areas and parameters etc. Like I said, this can come in any number of slippery ways, ways that you would never possibly learn about unless Fitz or Ari's lawyer specifically told about it. Fleischer himself may not know of subtle conversations between Fitz and his lawyer. It is kind of irrelevant at this point I suppose, and I didn't intend to create a dispute. But from what i know of such things, I would be shocked beyond belief if there was not some inclination provided to Fitz as part of the consideration for the grant.

No logical fallacy, though a retreat from your earlier position, Swopa. I'm saying Powell is not 1, or the defense would have called him--particularly if 2 doesn't include Libby. It would make the whole "threw Libby under a bus" theory viable. Powell might be 1 (though there is no evidence to support it), but if he is, then it's most likely that Defense didn't know, therefore Fitz didn't disclose, therefore Fitz didn't know. It is possible Fitz didn't disclose Powell was 1 by not using any evidence associated with that, but given the Ari deal, that would be risky and utterly unlike Fitz.

I guess I'm not explaining what I mean by truthful, Swopa. You're reading that as an accurate read of the Hadley Rove relationship--that Rove really did want to hide the conversation. But what prevents that email from being a complete prop, as at least the Cooper side appears to be (that is, welfare reform wasn't mentioned, and the only reason to mention it was to provide a exoneration trail). And if it was a complete prop, rather than an attempt to actively hide things from Hadley, then what grounds is it to argue that Rove didn't tell Hadley (when he was clearly at the center of these conversations)? You're treating the Rove email in a completely different way than you are the Bartlett comment (because you're presuming the Bartlett one serves to exonerate, but the Rove one doesn't). And I don't see any basis for assuming that Bartlett, who is not known to have leaked, would automatically be leaving red herrings, and Rove, who is known to have leaked, wouldn't. Unless you believe Bartlett's mentor, Rove, is stupider than Bartlett.

As to the proffer-not-proffer, what in anything you know about Fitzgerald makes you believe he would give Ari immunity, rather than charging him to get to the source? His normal modus operandi is to charge and work the way up. Fitz didn't even TRY To develop that evidence (that is, to talk to one of the reporters, in this case Pincus) until well after he had Libby.

And while you take the time, Swopa, I hope you concentrate on EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF YOUR THEORY. I mean that sincerely. You like to half-combat challenges to your theory, but you have not, in 4 years, provided really compelling evidence FOR it (though you were right on the mark about Fleischer being Pincus' source). I'm not opposed to your theory in principle, but you've never provided anything that would make it as logical an explanation for 1X2X6 as other possible theories. I'm not predisposed against your theory, I'm looking for any real evidence. And thus far, you've simply said Ari is known to have leaked to two people (though Libby is to 2.5 and Rove is to 2 plus), and you've claimed there's direct knowledge in 1's early statements that I see no basis for. Is that it???

Bartlett doesn't have a job waiting? Then I have to ask what current investigations might possibly subpoena him. He has been a loyal gopher since near infancy. Seems to me that loyalists can expect sinecures at think tanks and cozy lecture fees at the end of this administration. But lobbying? Right now? Are you sure people would take his calls?

I can see why he had to say he wasn't writing a book, though. Barnett represents lots of people with an autobiographical bent.

He's really so confident in his personal safety that he hired a NON-criminal lawyer?

I find that impossible to believe.

Swopa

Piling on a bit here, there are many problems with your hypothesis, as you know. But let me point out one possible one that I don't think we've discussed before. The original 1x2x6 article notes that their source "would not name the leakers for the record and would not name the journalists." I take that to mean that 1 named 2, only off the record. Then consider that the article talks about people familiar with the conversations and about "the leakers," and then it quotes Wilson saying that "a reporter told him that the leaker said, 'The real issue is Wilson and his wife.'" Now, I take it that Allen and Priest, to include it that way, would have to be confident that the leaker Wilson was describing was the same as one of the 2 their SAO had identified to them. Don't you think? And we know that Wilson's leaker in that case was Rove. Don't you think if you put those things together, that at least as far as Allen and Priest were concerned, Rove was one of the two?

Swopa

Let me add that one of the followup stories to the 1x2x6 story in the WaPo, this one by Allen and Milbank on 9-30-03, unmistakably points a finger at Libby along with Rove. Especially given that the first story implied that the source named the two leakers for Allen off the record, I really don't think that story would finger Libby (and Rove) that way if Allen were not confident that's who his original source was talking about.

EW, 7:33 pm: "... you were convinced (counter to the evidence in the court filings that explained precisely why they wanted to call them) that Team Libby wanted to call Powell because he was 1. You're the one who made the suggestion they needed to call 1, not me."

EW, 9:31 pm: " I'm saying Powell is not 1, or the defense would have called him."

I'm glad we're straight on whose opinion that is. ;) FTR, I've never suggested that Libby "needed" to call the "1" SAO, only that if Powell was called, that struck me as the most likely reason why.

I also did presume generally that Team Libby would attempt to impugn Fleischer's testimony by pointing at the leaking Ari did. Luckily for them, Ari "confessed" to leaking on July 11th, so they didn't have to go down the 1x2x6 path. (As I think I wrote somewhere, this was problematic since an innocent Libby wouldn't have reason to know about the calls -- hence the kabuki dance of trying to pry information out of Fitz on both Ari's immunity and 1x2x6.)

I don't see any basis for assuming that Bartlett, who is not known to have leaked, would automatically be leaving red herrings, and Rove, who is known to have leaked, wouldn't.

The difference is rather obvious -- Rove's email was private and contemporaneous (before anyone knew there would be a Plame leak investigation), whereas Levine's account of Bartlett's comments was both well after the fact and to a reporter who was writing a book.

A desire by Rove to mislead Hadley fits in perfectly with what we learned in the Libby trial about Hadley's bureaucratic role: he was trying to clamp down on WH/OVP sniping at the CIA, while Libby and Rove sought to keep on doing it without Hadley's knowledge.

One more thing about Bartlett's comments -- they're clearly placed in time after his return from Africa. So even if his opposition to "the wife as a talking point" is accurately described, it could be the result of having tried it and seeing that it didn't help (as Ari alluded to in his trial testimony).

... what in anything you know about Fitzgerald makes you believe he would give Ari immunity, rather than charging him to get to the source?

Charging him with what? He had no evidence that Fleischer knew Plame was covert, so he had no IIPA case.

If 1 did testify fully and was correct, then you would have expected either IIPA charges or other journalists to be interviewed. . . . Unless Bartlett also got immunity, then it's unclear why Fitz wouldn't have gone after Bartlett, not least because he would have had an eye witness.

Again, gone after him for what? Bartlett, like Armitage, was passing along info he saw in the INR memo and did not know he was outing a covert agent.

And if "1" gave Fitz a firsthand account of the conversations -- and said there was no indication that Plame was covert -- then what could the journalists have added? Pursuing them would have been just the kind of fishing expedition the DoJ guidelines discourage.

... there are many problems with your hypothesis, as you know.

Actually, no, I don't know that. The only problem seems to be getting you and EW to wake up and smell the coffee. :)

The original 1x2x6 article notes that their source "would not name the leakers for the record and would not name the journalists." I take that to mean that 1 named 2, only off the record.

That's been my assumption, too, although we can't be 100% sure of it.

Then consider that the article talks about people familiar with the conversations and about "the leakers," and then it quotes Wilson saying that "a reporter told him that the leaker said, 'The real issue is Wilson and his wife.'" Now, I take it that Allen and Priest, to include it that way, would have to be confident that the leaker Wilson was describing was the same as one of the 2 their SAO had identified to them. Don't you think? And we know that Wilson's leaker in that case was Rove.

We know that now, but did Wilson name Rove as "his" leaker at the time of that initial article? My interpretation is that he only did so later, perhaps after questions arose behind the scenes about the 1x2x6 article. Which leads to...

... one of the followup stories to the 1x2x6 story in the WaPo, this one by Allen and Milbank on 9-30-03, unmistakably points a finger at Libby along with Rove.

But not regarding the 1x2x6 calls -- in fact, Rove is explicitly tied (by Wilson, clarifying his earlier quotes) to calls after the Novak article, whereas higher up in the story are a couple of paragraphs from Pincus describing the call he received before the Novak article.

The Libby mention, although adjacent to a paragraph about 1x2x6, doesn't explicitly tie him to those calls. Instead, it can be read as describing additional leaking during that week ... which, of course, would be accurate.

Swopa

Yeah, I am assuming that when Wilson spoke with reporters on September 27, he identified Rove on background as the leaker he was referring to. I see no reason why he wouldn't, and reason why he wouldn't do so at that moment on the record.

And again, I don't think the issue is whether Rove and Libby were explicitly tied to the claims of 1x2x6. Rather, if Allen and Priest knew the identity of the 2 that 1 was talking about, I really don't think they would have explicitly pointed fingers at Rove and LIbby and only Rove and Libby if the 2 included anyone else. If, for instance, Allen had been told that 2 were Bartlett and Fleischer, it would have been downright irresponsible to mention Rove and Libby only in this context. (A further assumption here is that Pincus did not identify or disidentify his source to his fellow reporters.)

Of course, if 1 did not identify 2 off the record to Allen, then this particular angle on things becomes more problematic.

The difference is rather obvious -- Rove's email was private and contemporaneous (before anyone knew there would be a Plame leak investigation), whereas Levine's account of Bartlett's comments was both well after the fact and to a reporter who was writing a book.

So now you're saying that both Bartlett and Levine are lying? Because you seem to be suggesting that Bartlett suggested it to mislead when he said it to Levine in July 2003, and then Levine was somehow tainted bc he was talking to Isikoff. Is that what you're saying?

And regardless, I think your argument about Rove is still very weak, for two reasons. 1) we have abundant evidence that Rove was already playing games with email at this point (GWB43 and missing emails, meeting Abramoff on corners), so I don't think we can assume any of his emails are anything but elaborate misinformation, and 2) the Rove lying to Hadley thing (absent the other evidence) might make sense, but why include the Cooper talking about welfare story? The email has two deceits, one of which is unnecessary for Hadley.

A desire by Rove to mislead Hadley fits in perfectly with what we learned in the Libby trial about Hadley's bureaucratic role: he was trying to clamp down on WH/OVP sniping at the CIA, while Libby and Rove sought to keep on doing it without Hadley's knowledge.

This is a misreading, IMO. The only role we saw Hadley play was as a broker between OVP and CIA, as a representative of WH. Hadley never suggested WH sniped at CIA. And there is no evidence--beyond Rove's attacks on Wilson in the July 8 meeting, of Rove's actions. Further, there is Condi--Hadley's boss--saying Bush was okay with leaking.

One more thing about Bartlett's comments -- they're clearly placed in time after his return from Africa. So even if his opposition to "the wife as a talking point" is accurately described, it could be the result of having tried it and seeing that it didn't help (as Ari alluded to in his trial testimony).

I agree with this. It could be the result of having tried it against his counsel. But then again, we have no evidence supporting that fact except in a discussion where he specifically stopped short of leaking. But my point on this more generally is that this strongly suggests a comm strategy decision that Levine and others knew. Which suggests there's no reason for 1 to have to have been present when 2 leaked.

Again, gone after him for what? Bartlett, like Armitage, was passing along info he saw in the INR memo and did not know he was outing a covert agent.

And if "1" gave Fitz a firsthand account of the conversations -- and said there was no indication that Plame was covert -- then what could the journalists have added? Pursuing them would have been just the kind of fishing expedition the DoJ guidelines discourage.

This assumes several things. First, that 1 knew how Ari and Bartlett learned of Plame (including all the details surrounding the conversation with Libby). Second, that Fitz would have believed 1 without corroborating it. And third, that he wouldn't have checked with the journalist anyway. And all of that on top of the fact that 1, in his comments in the WaPo, gave Fitz 2 out of 3 of the pieces of evidence he would need to convict on IIPA (deliberate and knowledgeable).

Yet all of Fitz's known actions contradict that. We know that Fitz didn't know about the Ari conversation with Libby until Ari testified, so 1 certainly didn't tell Fitz. We know that Fitz pursued the ways Libby learned of Plame's ID, even after he learned, at Libby's first FBI appearance, that Cheney was his source. And we know that, even though Pincus printed that his source didn't know Plame was covert, Fitz still insisted on getting his testimony--but not until very very far into the investigation. Ditto, Fitz insisted on tracking down what Armitage said, even though Armi had apparently proven that he learned of Plame from IIPA. I can't think of any logical way to support the assertion that 1 told Fitz everything he knew, and that it was about Ari. All of Fitz' later actions defy that assertion.

Or let me put it this way.

Assume, for a moment, that 1 told the FBI who 2 were in 2003, and that they were Ari and Bartlett. Even pretend that 1 told Fitz that Ari learned of the identity from the INR memo.

Why would Fitz, having gotten the ability to subpoena journalists, give Ari immunity in February before he had spoken to any of the journalists, all of whom he presumably knew? He asked Novak right away to corroborate what Armitage and Rove had said, even though Armi had said (and provided a lot of evidence to support) he learned of it from the INR memo; Rove's story was still quite vague at that point. And then, presumably after having heard the truth from 1 in the fall and again January 2004, and having heard Ari in February 2004 (at which point, according to your story, there would be a conflict between 1 saying Ari was a source for Pincus and Ari saying he wasn't), you're suggesting Fitz would push the Kessler story with Libby in February, and then only in September go after Pincus? Which woudl suggest Fitz wasn't believing whta 1 said?

See, I just see no feasible way for 1 to have come clean about Ari and Bartlett--none of the actions afterwards woudl make sense.

EW,

You're forgetting that Fitz would also have Bartlett's FBI testimony in addition to that of the "1" SAO (Bartlett himself, not "1," would have brought up the INR memo as his source of info).

And as to why Fitz wouldn't go after the journalists, here are the relevant regulations:

In requesting the Attorney General's authorization for a subpoena to a member of the news media, the following principles will apply:

(1) In criminal cases, there should be reasonable grounds to believe, based on information obtained from nonmedia sources, that a crime has occurred, and that the information sought is essential to a successful investigation—particularly with reference to directly establishing guilt or innocence. The subpoena should not be used to obtain peripheral, nonessential, or speculative information.

. . . (3) The government should have unsuccessfully attempted to obtain the information from alternative nonmedia sources.

(4) The use of subpoenas to members of the news media should, except under exigent circumstances, be limited to the verification of published information and to such surrounding circumstances as relate to the accuracy of the published information.

I've gone over this with Jeff previously, and I'm truly at a loss to understand how you don't believe a by-the-book guy like Fitz might view going after reporters who didn't write about the leak, just to see if they disagree with successfully obtained testimony from an alternative, neutral source (the "1" SAO), as being barred by these guidelines.

Swopa, may I point out what you've done? I've made about 5 objections to your theory, and you half-respond to one, and not in a way that fits with the facts in the case (see also, Judy Miller). So I will assume you are ceding my other 4.5 points, and therefore have given up your theory?

You might start by providing a logical explanation for Fitz' chain of events:

1) Get 1's testimony
2) Get Bartlett's
3) Have Ari refuse to testify

[at this point, Fitz would have had to assume 1--would was only one witness to Ari's conversation, after all--was wrong or insufficiently informed on some count]

4) For some unfathomable reason, give Ari immunity without a proffer
5) After getting information from Ari that contradicts on two key points from 1's, you just sit on it
6) Ask Libby about 6 journalists when you interview him
7) Hammer Libby about Kessler, even though Pincus is a bigger candidate
8) Sit for 6 more months before you decide to resolve the discrepancies

Yup, that's Fitz.

And when you're done making that logically possible, you can go back and answer my other objections, starting with the one you apparently refuse to respond to: why it is necessary, any longer, for 1 to be a direct witness when we already have at least one other person who knows about the leaks who is not a party to this.

Swopa, may I point out what you've done? I've made about 5 objections to your theory, and you half-respond to one, and not in a way that fits with the facts in the case (see also, Judy Miller). So I will assume you are ceding my other 4.5 points, and therefore have given up your theory?

No, you may not. In case you hadn't noticed, you posted a lot of things you wanted me to answer. By the time I'd worked through most of them, there were two comments from Jeff, and then yours.

Believe it or not, I don't really want to spend my entire day (or life) chasing down every little detail you assign to me. Sometimes I even take breaks and do something else for a bit. I apologize if that offends you.

Regarding the numerous insinuations you've made in this comment thread about me dodging or avoiding subjects, I'll just say that after all these years, any suggestion that I'm discussing this matter in less than good faith is completely unwarranted -- and definitely not appreciated.

Incidentally, the last line above applies double for your condescending lecture about "evidence."

Swopa

I have been asking you for months now for any evidence that 1 had to be present to see 2 leak. That was the premise of your entire argument. You pointed to something in the 2 WaPo articles that doesn't appear to dictate presence at all and may be a misreading of Allen's question as 1's answer (on motive). And there is counter-evidence that such presence is necessary, both from Hubris and from the trial evidence.

You come into threads to pitch your theory over and over--but never get beyond reciting the same free-floating datapoints. As I've said over and over--I'm not sure you're wrong. But I'd love to see something more to pull it together with the known evidence. That is why I ask for it.

And if anyone kicked off the condescension here, it started when you said, "If you step back and look at this, hopefully you'll see the glaring logical fallacy. If you muse out loud about calling Domino's, I might justifiably speculate that you're interested in having pizza for dinner. Your reasoning above is that not calling Domino's is proof that Domino's doesn't serve pizza." Particularly in light of the fact that when we had that dispute, I was pointing to hard evidence of why they were calling Powell, and you repeatedly told me I had to be wrong. When you tell me that--after citing the Defense saying why they want to call Powell--I'm wrong, that is disingenuous.

I have been asking you for months now for any evidence that 1 had to be present to see 2 leak. That was the premise of your entire argument. You pointed to something in the 2 WaPo articles that doesn't appear to dictate presence at all and may be a misreading of Allen's question as 1's answer (on motive).

In other words, I gave you evidence, and you didn't happen to like it. Meanwhile, on the basis of said evidence (however solid or flimsy) that the 1x2x6 article described a single, discrete event, I hypothesized two years ago that Dan Bartlett & Ari Fleischer made a bunch of phone calls from Air Force One on July 12, 2003, and that the WaPo's Pincus was leaked to about Plame in one of those conversations.

A few months ago, we learned that this hypothesis was correct. It seems to me that any further discussion of the subject should at least entertain the possibility that what I considered evidence really was evidence, even if you disagreed.

And if anyone kicked off the condescension here, it started when you said, "If you step back and look at this, hopefully you'll see the glaring logical fallacy."...

But it was a glaring logical fallacy. We each suggested different reasons why Libby would call Powell. If Powell had been called and asked about one subject but not the other, then one of us would have been proven wrong. That Powell wasn't called at all rendered both of our theories neither right nor wrong.

Granted, you also tried to put into my mouth the claim that calling Powell was somehow mandatory if he was the "1" SAO... except that I never said that -- one of several mischaracterizations of my views in this thread I've had to waste time checking to find out what you were talking about. Maybe if you fact-checked more of your assertions before typing them, it'd be easier for me to keep up with you. :)

Swopa,

Congrats to you for being right about Ari being Pincus' source. Congrats to Jeff and me for being right about Cheney and NIE. And congrats to me for being right about Libby's unrevealed meeting with Novak. All based on correct intuition way ahead of the pack.

That still doesn't mean you've provided more than an interpretation that 2 had to be witnessed directly. That is the basis that connects the two Ari leaks (and no verified Bartlett leaks) with 1X2. But without it, there are just 2 verified Ari leaks, 2 verified Libby leaks, 2 verified Armitage leaks, and 2 verified Rove leaks. I'm not saying I'm right--I'm leaving all possibilities open. You are saying you're right. But you have not provided any reason why your 2 verified leaks are correct, in the face of a evidence supporting other theories.

emptywheel and swopa -

two giant egos at work.

each with a strong penchant for saying,

"i told you so - days, weeks, months, years ago".

you both contribute.

but neither of you contribute exclusively or with finality.


alas, your need to remind us of your previous highly insightful contributions may sometimes fall on deaf brain cells.

not all of us can remember,

or care to be reminded,

of what words of brilliant analysis either of you visited on us - days, weeks, months, years ago.


have it out and have fun.

the world twirls while you arm-wrestle with each.

or should i say "scrum" with each other.


i would add, for all your personal follies,

your columns are always insightful and interesting to read.

Thanks, orionATL.

if Allen and Priest knew the identity of the 2 that 1 was talking about, I really don't think they would have explicitly pointed fingers at Rove and LIbby and only Rove and Libby if the 2 included anyone else. If, for instance, Allen had been told that 2 were Bartlett and Fleischer, it would have been downright irresponsible to mention Rove and Libby only in this context.

Jeff, what do you then suggest the WaPo should have done in that 9/30 article? Not mention Rove and Libby, who were by that time the subjects of immense press speculation (largely based on their known post-Novak flogging of the Plame story)? Not mention their own blockbuster scoop of only a few days earlier? Cheat on their off-the-record agreement by saying, "We can't tell you who the 1x2x6 leakers were, but they weren't Rove and Libby" -- thereby setting off a process-of-elimination guessing game? Seems to me that they chose the best policy, which was to lay out the on-the-record facts as they knew them.

The only role we saw Hadley play was as a broker between OVP and CIA, as a representative of WH. Hadley never suggested WH sniped at CIA.

Wrong. To quote an admittedly unreliable live-blogger on Cathie Martin's trial testimony:

Stephen Hadley raised the evening news report by Mitchell and said that there had been suggestions that WH was pushing blame to CIA and that was not helpful. Hadley said Tenet was unhappy, Hadley said we shouldn't be saying it.

. . . Mr. Hadley asked me and others from the press office and Michael Anton had him join us as well, to talk about the story and told us again we should not be pointing fingers, this was not the CIA's fault in any way shape or form.

The NY Sun summary of Martin's testimony clarifies the context of the second paragraph:
Mr. Hadley was so exercised about the news report that he held another session with just the public affairs staff. "He told us again we should not be pointing fingers. …This was not helpful to the president," she recalled.

Ms. Martin said she immediately sought out Messrs. Cheney and Libby and told them that she thought she was being accused of helping to circulate the criticism of the CIA. The only response that she described was that soon thereafter she and other communications staffers were told they were being frozen out of all discussions about the so-called 16 words.

So not only was Hadley suggesting there was OVP/WH sniping at the CIA, he was pissed about it. Plenty of motivation for Rove to lie in an email to Hadley three days later -- minimizing Wilson as a topic of conversation, and saying he "didn't take the bait" (i.e., blame the CIA).

Stay tuned for more on the meaning of that last quoted sentence, though.

From Hubris, p. 262:

Novak called Adam Levine, the White House press aide who had become something of a Rove protégé, and complained that Rove wasn't calling him back. Levine promised to talk to Rove and see what he could do. In the course of the conversation, according to Levine, Novak asked him, "What do you make of the Wilson thing?" Levine replied, "I'm not working on that. You've got to talk to Scooter or Karl."
Compare that to the last highlighted sentence in the Cathie Martin comment above.

What EW is interpreting as evidence that Libby/Rove were smearing Wilson (before the Novak column) and everyone in the WH knew it, was really Levine saying that he and his fellow press flunkies were in the doghouse and not allowed to talk about the 16 words.

Swopa

With all due respect, your reading of the Hadley there is not correct. Hadley was saying there was and should be no WH sniping at CIA (that's why that word "suggestions" is really important--because it says that Hadley is worried about appearances), but because of press reports that we know came from Libby but that Hadley assumed came from Martin, WH was being blamed for sniping at the CIA. There is no plausible explanation for Martin's perception--which was serious enough she shared it with Dick and Libby--that she was being blamed except that Hadley was blaming OVP for making WH look bad.

All this is perfectly consistent with Hadley's role as portrayed in direct notes from the July 9 and July 10 meeting, not to mention the final outcome of the CIA statement on Iraq. It is further consistent with NSC's very compromised role that week--NSC (per Woodward and others) knew they deserved a great deal of the blame for the SOTU, so they were trying to get CIA to accept public blame, without pressuring them enough to push them to respond. And with NSCs apparently unwillingness as things moved forward to use all of OVP's propaganda (including the Jan 24 document). And I'd make a distinction between attacks on Wilson (Hadley was party to talks about declassifying at least the Wilson trip report) and attacks on the CIA--what Rove said to Cooper included no such attack on CIA. So there is no reason for him to hide it from Hadley.

Your reading of the Levine quote is possible--but that doesn't explain why Levine sent Novak to Rove and Libby, not Rove and Hadley. That is, even if Levine had been excluded as a Comm person, he still was saying that just Rove and Libby were the ones dealing with this, which is my point about it in the first place. Furthermore, Hubris describes this conversation as happening on July 8. And other reporting has described Novak leaving a message for Rove on July 8. And Novak himself has almost conceded that he first spoke with Rove on this on July 8. But the conversation you describe--where Comm staffers get taken off response--happened on July 9, in response to Andrea Mitchell's July 8 reporting that was itself a response to Libby's July 8 call to her.

Though that doesn't answer my question: what evidence was there that 1 had to be present with 2?

Seems to me that they chose the best policy, which was to lay out the on-the-record facts as they knew them.

You could be right about that. However, I think they would know that the clear takeaway from the article as written would be to point a finger at Libby (and Rove), and surely if Allen knew that his two leakers were not them, he would know it would be highly irresponsible simply to echo what (he would then have believed) was baseless or at leat misdirected suspicion. In that case, i think he would have framed it along the lines of, "Public suspicion has centered on Rove and Libby. Administration officials say x, y, z." In other words, there were other, better ways of being non-committal, and I think they would have chosen those. But that's not said with super-strong confidence, so you could be right.

The Hadley-Rove-Levine-Martin stuff is very interesting, and I don't have fully settled views on it, but I actually think Hadley's point in that meeting was both that he didn't want WH looking bad for sniping at CIA, but also I think he didn't want WH sniping at CIA because he didn't want to further provoke CIA in the ongoing war with them. There is a difference between going after CIA and going after Wilson, I agree - witness the way Tenet was content to go after Wilson in his July 11 statement - but from Hadley's perspective, it was probably a fine enough line that he wouldn't want others going after Wilson either.

I do also think that it's striking that Levine would send Novak not so much to Rove - not surprising - but Libby. This fits with the meat grinder notion, doesn't it? And yes, I'm pretty certain that Novak is definitive he called Rove and left a message on July 8, but then he's fuzzy whether Rove called him back on the 8th or the next day.

OK, back for a second shift -- and EW, you're right about the Levine timing in Hubris; sorry for the mistake.

[P.S. for Jeff trivia buffs only: Although one might infer from the message on 8th/call on 9th timeframe tjat Levine was called in between the two, not only does Hubris place the call earlier, so does a Dec. '05(!) article by Murray Waas, which specifically discusses it before the phone message on the 8th. How's that for Waas' attention to detail!)

EW, regarding Hadley, an attack on Wilson that outed a CIA officer absolutely would count as an attack on the CIA. Are you kidding me? :)

Even if Hadley and/or Tenet agreed to some things implicitly blaming the CIA that were negotiated via official channels, doing so through unilateral, anonymous leaks would understandably be another story.

If you don't believe me, consider the chain of events on the record:

1. Hadley complains about the Andrea Mitchell reports. Libby stays silent, letting Martin be blamed rather than admit his role to Hadley.
2. Hadley convenes a second meeting to rap Martin & other press aides on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper again.
3. All press aides were forbidden from discussing the Wilson/16 words issue.

It's hard to imagine a more infuriated response this side of workplace violence. Part of the purpose may even have been to remove the plausible deniability of "maybe it was one of the staffers" from Rove and Libby.

I guarantee you that Rove had no interest in arousing Hadley's ire that week, if all he had to do to avoid it was tell a lie.

Here's a little bit that should be coming to a bookstore near you for purchase very soon, on this subject, from Novak - I cite it mainly to note the way Novak gives the lie to a longstanding Rove talking point, namely, that the purpose of Novak's interview with Rove was mainly Frances Fragos Townsend and Wilson only came up a bit at the end. Not so, says Novak:

A When we had our full conversation, which it could have
12 been the next day or might yet have been that day, I have not
13 been able to pin that down, but when we had that
14 conversation, Mr. Rove was a man who was always in a hurry.
15 So we went over a number of things. But mainly, I was
16 interested in the Wilson mission to Niger.
17 I asked him several questions about that and about
18 Administration policy, usually gave terse answers. Then I
19 also asked him about, near the end of the conversation, I
20 believe, about Ambassador Wilson's wife. I asked him if he
21 knew -- I commented that I heard that she was a, I had been
22 told she was an employee of the counter proliferation
23 division of the CIA, and suggested the mission for her
24 husband.
25 Q What did he say?
0012
1 A He said, oh, you know about that too?
2 Q Now, based on your prior relationship with Mr. Rove as a
3 source, did you take that as confirmation?
4 A I took that as confirmation. When I said something that
5 he said was not true, he would say no, that's not true. We
6 didn't have very lengthy conversations. He usually gave me a
7 quick answer one way or the other, and I took that as a clear
8 affirmation.

As a follow-up to the above:

... why include the Cooper talking about welfare story? The email has two deceits, one of which is unnecessary for Hadley.

Please don't tell me your argument is, "Karl Rove wouldn't lie any more than necessary." Please don't tell me that. My irony meter is very sensitive, and it might explode. :)

That's very funny, Jeff - the earlier Waas article says that both Novak and Rove testified to the grand jury that their main focus was Townsend.

One might almost think they coordinated their stories...

And now, the post(s) that EW has already seen been waiting for... "what evidence was there that 1 had to be present with 2?"

First, here are the key words/passages from the original 1x2x6 story:

Yesterday, a senior administration official said that before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife.
From a copyediting standpoint, the tighter sentence would be "...two top White House officials disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife to at least six Washington journalists." Why go out of one's way to say the leakers "called" the journalists -- implying not only the method of communication, but the direction of the calls? Hmm. Maybe it's a coincidence.
"Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge," the senior official said of the alleged leak.
"Leak" -- singular, not plural. Like all of the calls took place as part of a single, discrete event. Oh, well, maybe it's another coincidence.
The official said there was no indication that Bush knew about the calls.
Again with the "calls"?! How did the source know the leaks didn't happen via email, or (just speaking hypothetically) during breakfast conversations at a pricey hotel?

Incidentally, let's break here for lines that underscore the pre-Novak timing of the calls:

The only recipient of a leak about the identity of Wilson's wife who went public with it was Novak...

... Sources said that some of the other journalists who received the leak did not use the information because they were uncomfortable with unmasking an undercover agent or because they did not consider the information relevant to Wilson's report about Niger.

This is not the language that would be used if the writers were talking about calls after the Novak column was printed.

Now, onward to the Oct. 12, 2003 follow-up. We'll start with a reiteration of the timing:

On July 7, the White House admitted it had been a mistake to include the 16 words about uranium in Bush's State of the Union speech. Four days later, with the controversy dominating the airwaves and drowning out the messages Bush intended to send during his trip in Africa, CIA Director George J. Tenet took public blame for failing to have the sentence removed.

That same week, two top White House officials disclosed Plame's identity to least six Washington journalists, an administration official told The Post for an article published Sept. 28.

"The same week" as July 7th and 11th. Take that, Spikey... (and note that they let the copyediting desk tighten the core sentence this time).
The source elaborated on the conversations last week, saying that officials brought up Plame as part of their broader case against Wilson.

"It was unsolicited," the source said. "They were pushing back. They used everything they had."

This is the passage that convinced me the day it was printed that the WaPo's "1" SAO directly observed the calls -- this question probably isn't even asked, much less answered, if the source doesn't have firsthand knowledge of what was said (and not just the leaks, but the rest of the conversations and the context in which the leaked info was mentioned... and, lest we forget, be able to describe them all as a group because the conversations were so similar). Nor is it likely that a source describing secondhand information about leaks over multiple days could get through interviews for two separate news stories without either of these facts being mentioned.

Unless, of course, I was starting with an a priori assumption of who the leakers had to be, knew that they'd leaked over an extended period of days in varying contexts, and was looking to force a rationalization that would square those required elements with these news articles; then I might find it likely. But who would do a thing like that??

Swopa

Before I respond, let me clarify. Are you, with this new proof that 1 had to have directly observed 2, giving up your earlier theories that 1) this had to be so secretive that 1 had to have directly observed 2, and 2) that the WaPo showed such strong evidence of motive that 1 had to have directly observed 2?

Swopa

You make an impressive case; though at the end of the day, it's as much a case for someone at State making stuff up about Bartlett and Fleischer as anything. However, a couple of holes: I think you are possibly overreading the key quotation from 10-12-03. I don't think it's at all clear what question is being asked, much less what the point of that answer is. Some people might even think that the source was sort of seeking to explain, or explain away, what the callers did.

On the issue of the timing of the calls, I do think Isikoff misreads the trajectory of the Post's coverage, for somewhat self-interested reasons, but I don't think the following claim is necessarily true:

The only recipient of a leak about the identity of Wilson's wife who went public with it was Novak...
... Sources said that some of the other journalists who received the leak did not use the information because they were uncomfortable with unmasking an undercover agent or because they did not consider the information relevant to Wilson's report about Niger.

This is not the language that would be used if the writers were talking about calls after the Novak column was printed.

I think it's quite possible what produced that set of sentences was a combination of Pincus and Wilson, Pincus obviously before and Wilson not so obviously exclusively after. Wilson was evidently a major source for the 1x2x6 story, and that needs to be factored in.

On a distinct note, do you take the WaPo to take a stance on whether Novak was one of the 6 reporters? Or do they start out with that assumption and then shift ground once Novak says he wasn't called?

Are you, with this new proof that 1 had to have directly observed 2, giving up your earlier theories that 1) this had to be so secretive that 1 had to have directly observed 2, and 2) that the WaPo showed such strong evidence of motive that 1 had to have directly observed 2?

I always learn such interesting things about "my earlier theories" from you, EW. Perhaps it's just that you have a better imagination memory than I do. ;)

I already provided a link above to an October 2003 post that I'm basically reiterating (or "elaborating on," as the WaPo might say). Do you have links to the other "theories" you're citing, or is it my job to dig those out, too?

For bonus points, after you provide the links, you can explain why the theories are mutually exclusive rather than multiple reasons that reinforce one another.

... do you take the WaPo to take a stance on whether Novak was one of the 6 reporters?

Having blogged about the articles at the time, I was never under the impression that he was specifically included or excluded.

An alternative, less snarky response to this:

... your earlier theories that 1) this had to be so secretive that 1 had to have directly observed 2,

I don't think I've ever used that as an argument for why "1" had to be in the room. I have, however, said that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby were sufficiently secretive about their leaks that no one was a plausible "1" candidate (in the room, or otherwise) if they were the "2" leakers.

Though now that you mention it, I guess Cheney knew about their leaks, so maybe he's the WaPo's secret source. :)

... and 2) that the WaPo showed such strong evidence of motive that 1 had to have directly observed 2?

I don't recall ever arguing anything like this. The only "motive" I see in the leakers' actions is desperation.

If you mean that the "1" SAO was in a position to describe the motivation in specific terms, well, that's what I said in October 2003, and it's what I'm saying now.

Wilson was evidently a major source for the 1x2x6 story, and that needs to be factored in.

This is alluded to in the exchange between Jeff and myself above. The original 1x2x6 story had Wilson's quotes about post-Novak calls from reporters tangled up in the "1" SAO's story, but by the 9/30/03 article Jeff linked above (only two days later), the WaPo had disentangled them.

Lest I forget, you also wanted me to address the "evidence" for Levine or Bartlett as "1," and Rove/Libby's leaks as "2x6." Here we go:

according to Adam Levine--both he and Bartlett were omniscient narrators in time to be 1. Apparently, Levine had that omniscience because he was fielding calls and had been told to direct any and all calls on Joe Wilson to Libby and Rove. Apparently Bartlett had it because he knew of a specific decision to use Valerie as a talking point, presumably in the course of public affairs strategy discussions.

. . . . . . If, on July 8, [Levine] had a perception that Rove and Libby were in charge, and then within a week knew of a campaign against Plame, it is possible that the Plame thing wasn't all that secret.

When you say that Bartlett "knew of a specific decision to use Valerie as a talking point" and Levine "knew of a campaign against Plame," you're referring to a time period after the Novak column, when Libby and Rove were actively and openly flogging it to reporters. Sure, Bartlett and Levine knew about it -- as did much of Washington, D.C., potentially up to and including Laura Bush and Barney.

To convert this to an assumption that any of them knew about pre-Novak leaking is, to put it gently, an unproven leap of faith. (Though a Barney-as-"1" hypothesis is undeniably intriguing.)


As for Rove and Libby's 6, I'd say Miller, Novak, and Cooper are definites (with the benefit that we know both Novak and Cooper talked to both, and we know Judy had at least another source), and Mitchell, is another very likely (which would explain why Team Libby didn't want her notes). Fitz asked about several other journalists in the GJ, one of them Isikoff. And there's Tweety.

As noted above, the 9/30/03 and 10/12/03 WaPo stories both separate the Mitchell/Tweety conversations (as relayed by Joe Wilson) from the 1x2x6 narrative. Of course, if you open the door to post-Novak calls like Mitchell/Tweety, then you could probably come up with 1x2x50. But as the preceding posts (and the recurring anonymous WaPo references to Pincus, clearly suggesting he received one of the 1x2x6 calls) demonstrate, we're talking about a pre-July 14th timeframe.

For pre-July 14th evidence, all you've got is Levine knowing Rove and Libby are hyped up about Joe Wilson. Converting that into Levine somehow knowing who Rove and Libby talked to, and what Rove and Libby told them about Plame, is all conjecture and no evidence.

One other big problem with Levine as "1" is that the account in Hubris of his conversations with Mike Allen begins with this (p. 317), as Allen reacts to the announcement of a DOJ probe into the Plame leak:

Throughout the day, the Post reporter sent him e-mails and called repeatedly. He told Levine that the Post had learned that White House officials had called several reporters about Plame.
To transmute this into Levine being Allen's primary source implies that Allen simply made up a tale and bluffed Levine into "confirming" it... and in such a way that Allen/Priest reported it as his "turning on" the Bush administration. And as phone calls to at least six reporters, when the actual circumstances were more varied. Followed by Levine suddenly embracing his unintended whistle-blower role by giving the WaPo a follow-up interview about the leaks for the 10/12 story, reiterating that there were at least six leaks before the Novak column. And then erasing this second interview from his memory before talking to Isikoff/Corn for Hubris.

Sure sounds plausible to me. I can't believe I ignored it for so long. :)

You make an impressive case; though at the end of the day, it's as much a case for someone at State making stuff up about Bartlett and Fleischer as anything.

Well, it's not like anyone went out of their way to point the finger at Bartlett/Fleischer back then. The State Dept. didn't start doing that until July '05 (in the articles EW mistakenly interpreted as being a Rovian smear).

However, a couple of holes: I think you are possibly overreading the key quotation from 10-12-03. I don't think it's at all clear what question is being asked, much less what the point of that answer is.

The question is anything to the effect of, "Tell us more about the conversations: Why was the info about Plame brought up, and in what context?" The answer doesn't need a point, per se; it's just the answer. But the point of printing the answer, if you're the WaPo (and Newsweek has just publicly questioned your scoop) is to say, "Look, he was there, he knows what he's talking about."

Some people might even think that the source was sort of seeking to explain, or explain away, what the callers did.

Sure, if you're Tom Maguire. :)

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